Info Masterliveaboard.com can I trust them?

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maddog2

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I booked a Komodo dive trip on the Indo Siren (Master/Siren Fleet) through Liveaboard.com. This trip which was scheduled for August, 2020 had to be cancelled due to the Covid Pandemic.

After hearing of the rampant spread of Covid I requested a refund in early April of 2020. I was denied my refund request and was given the 'choice' of either 'rescheduling' or getting a refund of $0.00. After over 150 emails I have been unsuccessful in convincing Regina (regional manager of Liveaboard.com) that I should have a full refund as stated in Masterliveabord’s Terms and Conditions’:

“Cancellation by You due to Unavoidable & Extraordinary Circumstances:”.

Frustrated by Regina I contacted Kerry from Masterlifeaboard.com but she referred me back to Liveaboard.com. I replied that I have been unsuccessful in reasoning with Regina and am hoping that Masterliveaboard will honour their own ’Terms and Conditions’ and provide me with a full refund. Since that last email on Dec. 15, 2021 Masterliveaboard has not replied. I will update this thread with any news.

P.S. I decided to start another Forum thread to report on Masterliveaboard.com's request for a refund. But, you can read more specific details in the forum topic ‘Liveaboard.com can I trust them’.
 

girlwithbigtanks

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I haven’t been pursuing a refund, but the country we need to fly into to board the master boat is closed for tourism. We are 5 months out and no communication of plan b. I know this, I will never ever spend my disposable income on a live aboard trip again, when I have to book way in advance. (Deposit in 2018).
 

Centrals

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1. Divers will be reluctant to pay deposit.
2. Operator still wants sizable deposit to protect its own interest.
3. Good cancellation policy will be in big demand?

How about the plane ticket, hotel/resort, private transportation etc etc?
 

drrich2

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It might be useful to put some added detail. From the link you gave (note: bold emphasis mine!):

"Cancellation by You due to Unavoidable & Extraordinary Circumstances:

You have the right to cancel your confirmed holiday before departure without paying a cancellation charge in the event of “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” occurring at your holiday destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the holiday or significantly affecting the transport arrangements to the destination. In these circumstances, we shall provide you with a full refund of the monies you have paid but we will not be liable to pay you any additional compensation. Please note that your right to cancel in these circumstances will only apply where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to your destination or its immediate vicinity. For the purposes of this clause, “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” means warfare, acts of terrorism significant risks to human health such as the outbreak of serious disease at the travel destination or natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or weather conditions which make it impossible to travel safely to the travel destination."

"Additional ‘Corona Clause’:

Our standard Terms and Conditions apply.
If you cannot travel due to Covid-19, we will honour the monies paid to us and move the booking to a later date. For this to be applicable, one of the following must apply:
  1. You have contracted the virus within 30 days to departure and can provide medical evidence to support this
  2. OR Within 14 days to departure, your final destination country prevents you from entering due to their governmental guidelines and restrictions on your country of residence
  3. OR Within 14 days to departure, your country of residence prevents you from departing due to their governmental guidelines and restrictions on the embarkation point for the liveaboard

If any of the above do not apply, it is your responsibility to get yourself to the point of embarkation.
The ‘Corona Clause’ can be removed at any time."

This trip which was scheduled for August, 2020 had to be cancelled due to the Covid Pandemic.

After hearing of the rampant spread of Covid I requested a refund in early April of 2020.

I booked a Komodo dive trip on the Indo Siren (Master/Siren Fleet) through Liveaboard.com.

Contracts tend to be written by lawyers to protect a business' interests (including from its customers), from what I gather. It can get frustrating delving into these situations. From a glance over the info. available, here are the questions I would ask:

1.) Did the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advise against travel to the destination as of the time you requested the refund? Presumably that's when you attempted to cancel.

2.) You said the trip 'had to be' cancelled. And that you requested a refund in April. So, did it have to be cancelled 4-months prior to departure, or did you just figure that's where things were probably headed and choose to do it?

3.) While one hopes going through a travel agency may give you someone on your side to advocate for such things, it might mean your money's split between MasterLiveaboard.com and Liveaboard.com. That could make a 'full refund' even more unpalatable.

I get that people need time to make travel arrangements and don't want to make complex multi-flight international trip arrangements when it looks like they won't get to make the trip due to the pandemic.

I'm not addressing the issue of having a moral right to a refund. Just looking at the terms as laid out.

P.S.: I had a Raja Ampat Indo-Siren trip booked for early Dec. 2021 through a different dive travel agency; in early Sept. 2021 I got word from my dive travel agent it didn't seem like Indonesia would be reopening in Dec. and offering me some available dates (or the option to switch my trip to one of their other live-aboard boats). I opted for a late 2022 reschedule. So I had 3 months lead time, in case that's of interest. If anyone else had an Indonesia live-aboard cancellation due to the pandemic shutting down tourism this year, how much advance notice did you get of trip cancellation or option to rebook?
 

mcohen1021

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We had a very similar situation with Bluewater Travel and Philippines Siren.

Philippines Siren and the rest of the fleet are on my perma sh-- list as they refused to issue a refund after deciding they didn't want to honor the price after TWO YEARS of holding our deposit.

So both companies above are on my no thanks list even if it was free
 
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maddog2

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We had a very similar situation with Bluewater Travel and Philippines Siren.

Philippines Siren and the rest of the fleet are on my perma sh-- list as they refused to issue a refund after deciding they didn't want to honor the price after TWO YEARS of holding our deposit.

So both companies above are on my no thanks list even if it was free
Thanks for the warning about Blue Water Travel. BTW, I believe Phillippines Siren is part of the same group as Indo Siren: Master/Siren fleet.
 
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maddog2

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It might be useful to put some added detail. From the link you gave (note: bold emphasis mine!):

"Cancellation by You due to Unavoidable & Extraordinary Circumstances:

You have the right to cancel your confirmed holiday before departure without paying a cancellation charge in the event of “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” occurring at your holiday destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the holiday or significantly affecting the transport arrangements to the destination. In these circumstances, we shall provide you with a full refund of the monies you have paid but we will not be liable to pay you any additional compensation. Please note that your right to cancel in these circumstances will only apply where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to your destination or its immediate vicinity. For the purposes of this clause, “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” means warfare, acts of terrorism significant risks to human health such as the outbreak of serious disease at the travel destination or natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or weather conditions which make it impossible to travel safely to the travel destination."

"Additional ‘Corona Clause’:

Our standard Terms and Conditions apply.
If you cannot travel due to Covid-19, we will honour the monies paid to us and move the booking to a later date. For this to be applicable, one of the following must apply:
  1. You have contracted the virus within 30 days to departure and can provide medical evidence to support this
  2. OR Within 14 days to departure, your final destination country prevents you from entering due to their governmental guidelines and restrictions on your country of residence
  3. OR Within 14 days to departure, your country of residence prevents you from departing due to their governmental guidelines and restrictions on the embarkation point for the liveaboard

If any of the above do not apply, it is your responsibility to get yourself to the point of embarkation.
The ‘Corona Clause’ can be removed at any time."





Contracts tend to be written by lawyers to protect a business' interests (including from its customers), from what I gather. It can get frustrating delving into these situations. From a glance over the info. available, here are the questions I would ask:

1.) Did the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advise against travel to the destination as of the time you requested the refund? Presumably that's when you attempted to cancel.

2.) You said the trip 'had to be' cancelled. And that you requested a refund in April. So, did it have to be cancelled 4-months prior to departure, or did you just figure that's where things were probably headed and choose to do it?

3.) While one hopes going through a travel agency may give you someone on your side to advocate for such things, it might mean your money's split between MasterLiveaboard.com and Liveaboard.com. That could make a 'full refund' even more unpalatable.

I get that people need time to make travel arrangements and don't want to make complex multi-flight international trip arrangements when it looks like they won't get to make the trip due to the pandemic.

I'm not addressing the issue of having a moral right to a refund. Just looking at the terms as laid out.

P.S.: I had a Raja Ampat Indo-Siren trip booked for early Dec. 2021 through a different dive travel agency; in early Sept. 2021 I got word from my dive travel agent it didn't seem like Indonesia would be reopening in Dec. and offering me some available dates (or the option to switch my trip to one of their other live-aboard boats). I opted for a late 2022 reschedule. So I had 3 months lead time, in case that's of interest. If anyone else had an Indonesia live-aboard cancellation due to the pandemic shutting down tourism this year, how much advance notice did you get of trip cancellation or option to rebook?
Yes, the 'Foreign & Commonwealth Office', which I believe is now called the FCDO, did advise against travel to Indonesia at the time of my request for a refund and also at the time of my eventual trip cancellation in June about 60 days prior to departure.

At that time all travel restrictions were still in place, and getting worse every day. Liveaboard.com kept prevaricating saying that they were contacting the Indo Siren Operator and eventually I was forced to reschedule. Here's the timeline of my correspondence with Liveaboard.com, my request for a refund, and the travel bans to Indonesia.
 
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maddog2

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Yes, the 'Foreign & Commonwealth Office', which I believe is now called the FCDO, did advise against travel to Indonesia at the time of my request for a refund and also at the time of my eventual trip cancellation in June about 60 days prior to departure.

At that time all travel restrictions were still in place, and getting worse every day. Liveaboard.com kept prevaricating saying that they were contacting the Indo Siren Operator and eventually I was forced to reschedule. Here's the timeline of my correspondence with Liveaboard.com, my request for a refund, and the travel bans to Indonesia.
Jan. 22, 2020 (maddog2) Komodo (Indo Siren) trip confirmed by Liveaboard.com
Labuan Bajo, - LBJ, Indonesia: 17 Aug 2020 - 27 Aug 2020

- March 21, 2020 (maddog2)
Is the Indo Siren Komodo liveaboard trip from Aug 17 to Aug 27 still scheduled to run? I ask because it seems that most International Airline flights that service Denpasar Bali have been cancelled, and Denpasar would be the departure point within Indonesia to Labuan Bajo where this Liveaboard will depart/return.

- March 23, 2020 (Liveaboard.com)
They replied that they would ask for local insight from the operator and get back to me.
Liveaboard.com said the departure is far away, and that hopefully, the situation will be cleared by then.

April 2, 2020, in accordance with Indonesian Minister of Law and Human Rights Regulation number 11/2020, Indonesia does not allow visits and transit from all foreign tourists


April 3, 2020
CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
IN VANCOUVER, CANADA

Starting 2 April 2020, 00:00 Western Indonesia Time, Indonesia will TEMPORARILY restrict any foreigner from entering the Indonesian territory, as one of the steps to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia.


- April 3, 2020 (maddog2)
I have already pre-paid for the entire trip in good faith. However, since Indonesia has closed its borders to all visitors except Indonesian citizens I will not be allowed to complete this liveaboard trip. Can I please have a complete refund or at the very least a postponement of this trip.

- April 3, 2020 (maddog2)
This Liveaboard dive trip I planned was also part of a longer Bali vacation that I had planned with my wife, son and daughter-in-law.

Currently, Indonesia is not allowing visitors, but also Canada where we reside is requiring all returning International travellers to self quarantine for two weeks. The Canadian requirement to self quarantine would not work for us, because my son and daughter-in-law are both working and could not afford to miss work for two more weeks on their return.

So, if we can't go on this trip this year, I would prefer to have my money returned and then plan for the same trip at the same time next year.

(At that time I was actually unsure whether I would book the same trip next year, because my wife, son and daughter-in-law may not have been able to make the trip).
 
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maddog2

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Jan. 22, 2020 (maddog2) Komodo (Indo Siren) trip confirmed by Liveaboard.com
Labuan Bajo, - LBJ, Indonesia: 17 Aug 2020 - 27 Aug 2020

- March 21, 2020 (maddog2)
Is the Indo Siren Komodo liveaboard trip from Aug 17 to Aug 27 still scheduled to run? I ask because it seems that most International Airline flights that service Denpasar Bali have been cancelled, and Denpasar would be the departure point within Indonesia to Labuan Bajo where this Liveaboard will depart/return.

- March 23, 2020 (Liveaboard.com)
They replied that they would ask for local insight from the operator and get back to me.
Liveaboard.com said the departure is far away, and that hopefully, the situation will be cleared by then.

April 2, 2020, in accordance with Indonesian Minister of Law and Human Rights Regulation number 11/2020, Indonesia does not allow visits and transit from all foreign tourists


April 3, 2020
CONSULATE GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
IN VANCOUVER, CANADA
Starting 2 April 2020
, 00:00 Western Indonesia Time, Indonesia will TEMPORARILY restrict any foreigner from entering the Indonesian territory, as one of the steps to curb the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia.


- April 3, 2020 (maddog2)
I have already pre-paid for the entire trip in good faith. However, since Indonesia has closed its borders to all visitors except Indonesian citizens I will not be allowed to complete this liveaboard trip. Can I please have a complete refund or at the very least a postponement of this trip.

- April 3, 2020 (maddog2)
This Liveaboard dive trip I planned was also part of a longer Bali vacation that I had planned with my wife, son and daughter-in-law.

Currently, Indonesia is not allowing visitors, but also Canada where we reside is requiring all returning International travellers to self quarantine for two weeks. The Canadian requirement to self quarantine would not work for us, because my son and daughter-in-law are both working and could not afford to miss work for two more weeks on their return.

So, if we can't go on this trip this year, I would prefer to have my money returned and then plan for the same trip at the same time next year.

(At that time I was actually unsure whether I would book the same trip next year, because my wife, son and daughter-in-law may not have been able to make the trip).
- April 3, 2020 Liveaboard.com
Liveaboard.com replied that they are still waiting to hear from the operator as to the options to reschedule your trip.

- April 3, 2020 Liveaboard.com
Liveaboard.com replied that they are still waiting to hear from the operator as to the options to reschedule your trip.

But I asked twice for a complete refund. In the EU travel agents are legally bound to protect a customer's money with an ATOL bond. I suppose Liveaboard.com might argue that they are not bound by that particular law, but it seems to me to be another excuse to protect and kerp for themselves any money they may have collected from customers.

- April 4, 2020 (Liveaboard.com)
Thank you also for the clarification about your upcoming holiday in Bali.
We are still waiting to hear from the operator as to the options to reschedule your trip.

- April 4, 2020 (Liveaboard.com)
Liveaboard.com said that they have now heard back from the operator.
They stated that there have not been any interruptions or changes to my planned trip.

- April 5, 2020 (maddog2)
According to several web sites it seems that Indonesia and Bali have restricted travel regulations and have barred all foreign arrivals and transit.


"Until further notice, President Jokowi has banned all foreign arrivals and transits. Only travellers with a valid working permit and diplomats are allowed to enter. "
I would say that this would be an interruption or change to my planned trip since I am unable to fly to Indonesia. Please let me know if I am mistaken since several web sites mention the same travel restriction.

- April 6, 2020 (Liveaboard.com)
Liveaboard.com said that The operator expects all the travel bans will be lifted by the end of May and that was why they mentioned that there have not been any interruptions or changes to your planned trip.

By the end of May the travel bans remained in place so at that point in time Liveaboard.com presented me with two options, and subsequently claimed that I chose to reschedule my trip (a take it, or leave it attitude).

1.forfeit my dive trip with no refund.
2. Reschedule my dive trip

What Liveaboard.com conveniently didn’t tell me was that I woud be allowed to have a complete refund of the monies I had paid according to Masterliveaboard.com’s “Terms and Conditions”


Cancellation by You due to Unavoidable & Extraordinary Circumstances:
You have the right to cancel your confirmed holiday before departure without paying a cancellation charge in the event of “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” occurring at your holiday destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the holiday or significantly affecting the transport arrangements to the destination. In these circumstances, we shall provide you with a full refund of the monies you have paid but we will not be liable to pay you any additional compensation. Please note that your right to cancel in these circumstances will only apply where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to your destination or its immediate vicinity.

All references to the ‘Corona Clause’ were not in Masterliveaboard’s ‘Terms and Conditions’ at the time of my initial booking and also at the time of my cancellation. Also, the additional reference to the ‘Corona Clause’ web page did not exist.

“Read more about our Corona Clause on our Booking with Confidence page.
Book with confidence - Master Liveaboards “.

If you follow the Coronal Clause link it makes reference to the date 1st March 2021. This reference was obviously put in after March 1, 2021.

Incredibly, the reference to the Coronal Clause on the ‘Booking with Confidence’ pay was one of many excuses that Regina Sask (a Regional Manager at Liveaboard.com) cited as a reason for not giving me a refund. To read about the other excuses and inconsistencies in Regina’s statement please refer to this Forum thread: “Liveaboard.com can I trust them” on page 21.
 
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maddog2

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- June 1, 2020 (maddog2)
Unfortunately, it seems that the travel situation has not change significantly since we last communicated. Therefore, I am forced to look at rescheduling this trip.
an identical trip scheduled for August 21, 2021 (Komodo National Park (Labuan Bajo - Labuan Bajo) is available.

- June 15, 2020 (Liveaboard.com)
Good news! We have finally received confirmation of the reschedule option.
Noted you would like to reschedule for the 21st August 2021.
 

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